It’s all fun and games until the weather hits -30c. This will be the first time I have driven an EV through the winter, so far everything has been fine except the battery does lose some range; by some, I mean quite a bit. From +25c to -25c, the EV I have been driving is using almost double the amount of power to get me from Point A to B.
First off, the car needs to keep its batteries warm to perform properly. We don’t need to go into a major chemistry lesson to understand an extremely cold battery does not work like a warm one. Just like in a gas-powered vehicle, a frozen battery does not turn the motor over very quickly. The same math applies to an EV; temperature plays a big role in how a battery charges and discharges. Most EV’s will have a heating and cooling system to keep the batteries warm or cool depending on the outside temperature. This heating and cooling system requires power for the batteries themselves, which reduces range.
Second, I, like everyone else like to be warm on my way to work. The heater, defroster, heated seats, etc. all require power from the battery, which in turn also uses the battery and reduces range.
Yes, I have tried to drive to work without the heat on to see how it affects the range. I would like to report that it is not a lot of fun but does help the range.
We are expecting -35c in Calgary the latter part of January, I will let you know if I experience any issues.
Stay warm and have a fantastic 2020.
– Randy McMahon is our Prairies Remarketing Manager for Jim Pattison Lease. In this EV blog series, he documents his own experience and opinions from driving a Tesla Model S to provide first-person insights into owning an electric vehicle.